January Board (not Annual) Meeting Minutes

In the interest of the open sharing of information with the community, Sue moved, “that the Board authorize the distribution, by the end of the day tomorrow, the monthly Chair reports and meeting minutes from this January 12th monthly Board meeting via email and posting on the Innis Arden Website.” The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.


President Harley O’Neil called the January 12, 2016 Board meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Board members present were Steve Johnston, Kathi Peterson, David Fosmire, Harley O’Neil, Sue Cox, Brian Branagan, Cindy Esselman and John Hollinrake. Absent: Jamie Holter.

The minutes of the December 8, 2015 Board meeting were approved as published.

A motion carried to approve the agenda for this meeting.

PRESIDENT – Harley O’Neil: Brian Branagan was thanked for his years of service on the board representing the Activities Committee. At the Annual Meeting, Harley has asked a few members to give a brief report on various topics: John John on Point Wells; Meg Mager on reporting coyote incidents (Meg spoke briefly at the meeting stating she will be collecting data on coyote encounters; she can be reached at innisardencoyotes@gmail.com or call her at 206-295-7499; details will be published in the next Bulletin and Next Door web site); and, Lance Blair with an update on the pool.

For those candidates who would not be attending the Annual Meeting, Harley gave them an opportunity to speak to the audience (Cindy Esselman, Scott Reid, Easton Craft and Maggie Taber). He then asked the other candidates in attendance to give a 2-minute presentation (Sue Cox, John Hollinrake and Harley O’Neil).

SECRETARY – Sue Cox: Annual election worker spots are all filled and will be on hand at the Annual Meeting to process ballots in various forms.

In the interest of the open sharing of information with the community, Sue moved, “that the Board authorize the distribution, by the end of the day tomorrow, the monthly Chair reports and meeting minutes from this January 12th monthly Board meeting via email and posting on the Innis Arden Website.” The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

VICE-PRESIDENT – David Fosmire: Dave reported there were no new compliance issues this month, and there are three which are coming close to resolution.

CLUBHOUSE – Kathi Peterson: Laura Taylor, Clubhouse Manager, reported December Income was $2,400 with Refunds at $675. December was filled with the holiday parties. Our Activities Committee beautifully decorated the clubhouse and all of the renters were appreciative and complimentary. Parties included private member rentals, company holiday events and one reunion/birthday event. Summer rentals are beginning to be scheduled so if you have something in mind, please contact Laura Taylor at 542-5558 to get your event on the calendar.

In addition to normal clubhouse monthly maintenance, Greg removed the festive lights from the clubhouse and purchased and spread more than six additional yards of crushed rock on the new Petanque Courts. It was still not enough so he bought and spread two additional yards. Thanks to the Activities Committee for their $1,500 contribution toward the construction of the Petanque Courts.

GROUNDS — Kathi Peterson: While inspecting the progress of construction of the new Petanque Courts at the clubhouse, Dave Fosmire discovered a water leak in a pipe near the fire pit which is possibly an old faucet with underground pipes that have corroded overtime. Greg and Kam Kutek met to determine the origin of the leak and made repairs by getting a compression fitting, clamping off the 1/2″ pipe and capping the line. Water to the clubhouse was immediately turned off at the street but the meter continued running slightly. A crew from the City of Seattle Water Operations Response Center has been scheduled to come to the clubhouse to check the meter to be certain it’s working properly.

Swim Club – Report from Lance Blair: As part of the pool house remodel project, on January 6th some geotechnical field work was performed in the area behind the building. The work was done by the geotechnical engineering firm The Riley Group and was paid for by the Swim Club. Three test pits were dug and tests were performed on the stability and infiltration capacity of the soil. After the testing, the pits were re-filled and compacted. There may need to be some re-seeding of the grass in the spring, but the disturbance was minimal. The Swim Club has offered to help with any re-seeding that may be necessary. The Swim Club has not yet received the report from the engineers, but they have offered to send a copy of the report to the HOA board for our files once received.

Entrance — Report from Jean Muir: Although it feels as if spring is far away, work is beginning on the final phase of the Innis Arden entrance. Mark Gile from our contractor, In Harmony, is working with us to finalize the proposal for the work in Reserve A. He will also be replacing the few plants which have not survived and adding a few more hellebores in the area by the birch trees so that we have more winter color and interest in the birch walk. A little work will also be done on the sprinkler system in Reserve A to ensure that it properly supports the new plantings. Depending on the weather, pansies will be coming to the area in front of the entrance sign in early or mid February. Work on the new plantings should begin in early March. After so many years (going back to 2009), it will be wonderful to have the entire project completed and adding life and joy to the community.

A motion unanimously carried that Carol Solle be allocated up to $1,000 to purchase a new laptop for Innis Arden. Carol commented that she will be able to get through the Annual Meeting processing emailed ballots with the current donated laptop and that she’ll wait a couple of months before making the new computer purchase.

ACTIVITIES – Brian Branagan:

Save these dates for upcoming events:
Wine Tasting:                Friday, March 4th, 2016 (tickets available the end of January)
Rummage Sale:             March 12-13th, 2016
Easter Egg Hunt:          Saturday, March 26th, 2016
Ladies Event:                 Saturday, June 11th 2016 (afternoon)
Salmon BBQ:                 Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
4-Corners Brewfest:    Saturday, August 13th, 2016

Holiday Party — The Activities Committee wishes to thank everyone who supported Kelly and Julie Sanders in making the 2015 Holiday Party such a success. Over 170 Innis Arden community members attended making this one of the largest events of the year.

Wine TastingBetsy Rand and Moria Blair are co-chairing the Wine Tasting to be held on March 4th from 7-10pm.  Wine will be provided by QFC-Edmonds. Ticket information can be found in the January bulletin.

 Rummage Collection — We’re getting a good volume of donations so far and could always use a few more large-item donations. We’ve also had a good turn-out of volunteers to staff our rummage collection days.

 Looking for Salmon BBQ Event Chair Person — The Activities Committee is looking for someone to chair the 2016 Salmon BBQ. Please let Randi Fattizzi or Brian Branagan know if you are interested in supporting an experienced group of volunteers in producing this popular event.

 Innis Arden Ladies Event — Ladies’ Event will be chaired by June Howard. A “Tea” is planned with a speaker from the Shoreline History Museum and perhaps a singer. Because it is a new event and will be catered, it was suggested that RSVP’s be required.

New Community Activities Being Considered for 2016 — The Activities Committee is exploring fun and free ways for the community to come together. Some ideas being considered are: a movie night for adults in February at the clubhouse, monthly weekend bike rides, and walks through the Reserves.

 Next Activities Meeting — The next meeting at 7pm on Monday, February 1st at Randi Fattizzi’s home.

BUILDINGS & REMODEL – Cynthia Esselman: A motion carried approving the application of Jim McCulloch, 18649 – 15th Ave. NW, for construction of a garden shed. With regard to the application from Ken Drake, 1517 NW 186th, a motion carried approving the installation of solar panels.

There are three projects to be reviewed for approval at the February meeting: Pederson residence, 1453 NW 186th St, remodel; Lee residence, 18321 Ridgefield Rd. NW, tear down and rebuild; and, Wehmeyer Residence, 16750 – 16th Ave. NW, remodel.

NATURAL RESERVES – Steve JohnstonTrail Maintenance — In late December and early January, we made improvements to the trails in Blue Heron and Running Water reserves. The improvements included stump grinding to reduce tripping hazards, adding gravel to muddy parts of the trail, and brush and branch clearing.

Planting Site Preparation and Cleanup — Considerable cleanup was accomplished in East Running Water and East Blue Heron, including improving appearances and in preparation for planned new tree and bush planting this spring.

Hazardous Tree Removal — We removed fifteen hazardous trees from Running Water and Blue Heron Reserves. All trees were inspected by a certified arborist and found to be dead, dying or diseased, and to represent a threat to a valid target. Each tree was inspected by the City and approved for removal and replacement. Replacement planting will begin in early spring. Three of these trees were in Running Water Reserve and twelve were scattered throughout Blue Heron Reserve.

Reserve Committee — We plan to meet in early February to brainstorm and prioritize new activities for 2016. New ideas are welcome! On the list so far:

  • Repair the drainage ditch in North Blue Heron
  • Repair/Rebuild the spur trail in North Blue Heron
  • Repair the small footbridge of the main Blue Heron trail to the 14th Ave Cul-de-sac
  • Continued trail improvements in all Reserves
  • Tree health and count estimate (in preparation for the planned VMP work this fall)
  • Greatly increased invasive plant control and removal, especially of Scotch Broom and Blackberry.
  • Increased hazardous tree removal/replacement of previously topped and diseased trees.
  • Plant 250 Shorepine and 50 other native trees
  • Plant 150 Native flowering plants
  • Cleanup, lop-and-scatter and planting site preparation

TREASURER – John Hollinrake: In 2015, the Board prudently managed the financial resources of the community. Revenues exceeded expenses by $24,584 in 2015. Total revenues were $491,492 and total expenses were 466,908. Overall, the community is in excellent financial condition.

The Board had hoped not to increase dues for 2016. However, due to the estimated expenses to be incurred by the Club in defending the two lawsuits filed by Ms. Redditt, the Board was forced to increase dues for 2016 by approximately $40,000 (or $74 per lot). The proposed dues are $822 per year, or $69 per month, which pays for the protection of our views and covenants and the maintenance of our community facilities, including the clubhouse, clubhouse grounds, main entrance, tennis courts, hiking trails, play equipment, and natural reserves.

To put things in perspective, the 2016 dues for Blue Ridge (which does not have view covenants or substantial Natural Reserves) are $700. This is $122 less than the proposed IA dues of $822. Thus, compared to Blue Ridge, IA residents pay $122 per year more or about $10 per month for the protection of their views and property values and the management and maintenance of IA’s extensive natural areas.

To reduce the financial burden of the dues increase on IA residents, the Board intends to allow residents to pay the 2016 dues in two equal installments: one due by March 1 and the other due by June 1.

The Board has made a claim with our insurance company to recover the legal fees and costs incurred to date in defending the Redditt lawsuits. At this point, it is not yet certain whether the insurance company will agree to reimburse the Club for the legal fees and costs incurred to date and fees and costs to be incurred in the future but we believe there is a high probability that it ultimately will. The Board voted in November to return to IA members any funds received from the insurance company to reimburse the Club for legal expenses and costs incurred by the Club in defending the Redditt lawsuits in 2015.

Once the Redditt lawsuits are completed, the Board should not need to increase dues for several years.

I have been working with Lance Blair of the Swim Club to develop a strategy for the Swim Club to pay for the new Swim Club clubhouse, which as a member of the Swim Club and donor, I fully support as do other Board members. As Lance recently confirmed in a letter to the community, there is no intention for the IA Club to assess special dues against the entire community and provide such funds to the Swim Club to help pay for the new Swim Club clubhouse. The Swim Club will independently raise the funds necessary to fund the construction of the new Swim Club clubhouse.

The December financial report has been posted on the Innis Arden website. If anyone has a question regarding the Club’s finances, please email me at asktheboard@innisarden.org

LEGAL CHAIRMAN – John Hollinrake: From a legal perspective, 2015 was a very important year.

The covenant compliance procedures in the Bylaws were updated in January. Under the new covenant compliance procedures, with the assistance of legal counsel, the Board was able to process numerous covenant compliance matters in 2015 without any new lawsuits (the Redditt matter was handled under the prior procedures). In addition, the Board obtained compliance in these matters without the need to collect any fines from residents in 2015.

As a result of these efforts, many residents enjoy improved views of the Puget Sound and Mountains and increased property values. 

Under the leadership of Mike Jacobs, the Club transitioned to a non-profit corporation, which is expected to produce reduced insurance premiums for the Club. The Hosey lawsuit was settled with the Club receiving a settlement payment of approximately $90,000. Through the efforts of Steve Johnston, myself, and our legal counsel and other experts, the City adopted Critical Areas Ordinance Amendments which are more favorable to the Innis Arden community.

After protracted negotiations, the City issued a permit to remove many view-blocking trees in the street right-of-ways. These trees were removed in December and as a result, the views of a significant number of residents have been improved.

Legal fees continue to be high due primarily to residents who refuse to voluntarily comply with the covenants (and in some cases, file lawsuits) and complex legal matters involving the City including the Critical Areas Ordinance Amendments and the ROW tree permit negotiations. Due to the lawsuits filed by Ms. Redditt, legal fees for defense of the Club and protection of the View Covenants will continue to exceed $100,000. However, the Board hopes to recover substantially all amounts spent on this litigation through legal fee reimbursements and fines paid by Ms. Redditt and/or insurance coverage payments.

A detailed discussion of an analysis of legal fees was prepared by the Treasurer this month (see Exhibit A attached). The Club spends about $15 per household per month or $180 per year per household in legal fees to protect views and property values. The Club spends about $4 per month per household or $48 per year per household on other legal matters. (Copy of analysis is attached).The Club has collected legal fee reimbursements and fines of about $700,000, significantly offsetting gross legal costs. A copy of this analysis was emailed to the community on Monday.

Questions have recently arisen regarding the Board decision in the Redditt matter. A copy the decision issued by the IA Board was recently emailed to IA residents in the interest of greater pre-election transparency. At the end of the first paragraph, please note that “the Board requests that Ms. Redditt height-reduce said [5] trees to eliminate the view obstruction as required by the Covenants.”

Subsequently to the issuance of the Board decision, Ms. Redditt, through her attorney, asked the Board to accept an inadequate proposal under which she would trim four (4) of such large trees by only 6 feet. This was not sufficient to restore the views of her uphill neighbors and thus would not bring the trees into compliance with the view covenants.

In addition, Ms. Redditt proposed that she would only trim such trees every 3 to 5 years. Assuming that the tree branches would grow upwards 2-3 feet each year, such trees would grow back into the uphill neighbors views within a year or so and provide only temporary view restoration to the uphill neighbors.

Since the trimming proposal by Ms. Redditt would not comply with the view covenants and the re-trimming proposal would only result in some temporary view restoration to the uphill neighbors, the Board did not accept this proposal.

The letter recently circulated to IA residents by Ms. Redditt omits many important facts such as the information presented above. If you have further questions regarding the Redditt matter, please let me know.

More details regarding the lawsuits filed by Ms. Redditt is set forth in the November and December Bulletins.

As Legal Chair, I was recently alerted to a potential legal conflict of interest in relation to the Redditt lawsuits involving certain candidates for the Board. An email from Donna Arnold (mother-in-law of Easton Craft) to “Scoot” stated the following: “Tiia paid printing and envelopes.”  (copy attached, Exhibit B). Ms. Arnold confirmed that “Tiia” referred to Tiia Redditt. When asked, Ms. Arnold would not tell the community the identity of “Scoot.” Ms. Arnold stated that Ms. Redditt handled the printing of candidate statements and paid for this printing work. When asked, Ms. Arnold refused to disclose which candidates were involved in such printing. Elaine Phelps stated that the community was not entitled to know which candidates were involved with the printing purchased by Ms. Redditt.  Easton Craft and Scott Reid would not state whether or not the printing purchased by Ms. Redditt was for them. Cindy Esselman and Sue Cox informed John Hollinrake before the meeting that the printing was not done on their behalf. Ms. Arnold asserted that she reimbursed Ms. Redditt for such printing costs. Brent Oneal did not attend the meeting due to a family emergency.

All current and future Board members who have received direct and indirect campaign contributions  or services from Tiia Redditt, including, without limitation, payments for printing and mailing of campaign materials, or who have had communications with Ms. Redditt regarding the court cases filed by Ms. Redditt which have not been authorized by the Board, appear to have a conflict of interest with respect to the litigation involving Ms. Redditt. To avoid the appearance of unfairness and potential breaches of fiduciary duties by such Board members and potential lawsuits against such Board members and the Club, such current and future Board members should not participate in any manner, and should not vote on, any decisions or actions by the Board involving the Redditt litigation or any settlement discussions involving the Redditt litigation. Furthermore, such current and future Board members should not receive any communications from the Club’s legal counsel regarding the Redditt litigation and should not participate in discussions with the Club’s legal counsel regarding the Redditt litigation. Finally, all current and future Board members should disclose to the Innis Arden community all direct and indirect campaign contributions and services they have received from Ms. Redditt and all communications they have had with Ms. Redditt.

COUNCIL OF NEIGHBORHOODS – Domenick Dellino, CON Innis Arden Representative: June Howard, Chairperson of the Council of Neighborhoods presided over the meeting, which included these highlights:

(1) A new type of network is available to qualified Shoreline residents—Aging in Place, a membership organization—designed to allow people to stay in their homes. Interested parties should contact  Sound Generations, formerly, Shoreline Senior Center at (206) 365-1536.

(2) Pete Gerhard of Richmond Highlands led another session of “Leaders Learning Together” in which we explored the multiplicity of ways in which the various neighborhoods manage communication with their residents. Some of the measures of successful communication include:

  1. How many people show up for events. For example, Innis Arden is successful if we have 350 to turn out for the Salmon BBQ
  2. Resident Satisfaction—Residents are happier when they feel they are kept in the loop and have some semblance of control over their lives by being kept informed

Key Takeaways to Successful Communication:

  • The “Secret Sauce” is NOT cool technology, but a diverse set of means of communication (including at least one low-tech solution)
  • It’s key to get the messages to the right population
  • Having a WIDE variety of EVENTS that appeal to different target audiences
  • Having “gatekeepers” with some—but not too much—control over content and frequency
  • Having very short volunteer slots for people to encourage EASY participation in helping with events
  • Ridgecrest uses 1.5 hour volunteer slots, which tends to generate a lot of interest
  • Ridgecrest Public House is a new concept in Pubs…165th and 5th across from the Crest Theater
    • All are invited to experience a true Public House (you can bring your own food, popcorn, whatever, and enjoy 20 different taps)
  • Innis Arden appears to be quite successful relative to other neighborhoods, but there are still several areas where we can learn from our neighbors

Other Announcements:

  • Domenick Dellino encouraged others to join him as a volunteer driver for Hyde Shuttle/Sound Generations (half-day/week shifts are available). Other opportunities exist that require even less training, for example, taking seniors to their doctor’s appointments in your own car.
  • Trader Joes will open at the end of February!
  • There are several ways in the community to get help with your taxes—see HopeLink or your Local Library

June Howard also noted there will be a World Dance Party on January 22nd. The next CON meeting will be on February 3rd.

Harley read a note from a Shoreline Police officer describing a burglary call that came from a concerned neighbor. It turned out the vacationing neighbor had returned home. Our police department urges residents to be on the lookout for one another and don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1.

COMMENTS: There were numerous comments and questions from those present during this part of the meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 9:08 p.m.

Sue Cox, Secretary